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Who should be your RIT?

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  • Who should be your RIT?

    This is a topic that has been thrown around a lot in our volunteer company. There are several departments around our local. We work very closely with two of them. Our current procedure is to call our third or fourth alarm company for a "Go Team". It appears as if this may take to long to get them to the scene. My feeling is if something is going to go bad it will go bad early on. In addition, with the volunteer service, you never know who you will get if anybody. Any suggestions or experince with such a topic?

  • #2
    A bunch of guys from our dept. and the neighboring depts have just completed the RIT training. Our instructors stressed calling for the RIT as soon as you know it is something, so they can get going. (we are all vollies as well). When we need RIT we will call from a nearby dept., not one far out, we will use them for fill in at the station. We have four other departments that are next-door neighbors to us, basically one on each side, they are all about 5 minutes away. We usually call the closest(depending upon where we are in town) for mutual aid, the next closest for RIT, Then we worry about fill ins and don't really care where they come from. Generally as we strip the other depts for mutual aid and RIT, they will call for their own fill ins.

    I believe in getting RIT ASAP, waiting 15 minutes or so for a dept that is far away would not be my first choice.

    Good luck, hope this helps.


    • #3
      We run three stations on a box alarm, usually getting six to eight apparatus.

      We designate the third engine on the scene to be the RIT team, this seems to work well, the third engine is usually on the scene less than three minutes after the first.

      Also the officers can usually tell if they will be the third engine, and can plan on being the RIT, and report to the scene with the right equipment.


      • #4
        I'ts always good to see some local brothers on here. My answer to your question is this. If you are not getting the manpower from a certain department, or getting the responce time needed to run a RIT effectively, add another deparment. In Clairton, as soon as the tones drop for a reported structure fire, we automatically get Jefferson Boro Station 29 (885), and Glassport Station 22 (#1). We have been very fortunate in the past with this, averaging 10-14 guys per call, and the responce time is great. And this also goes viceversa. If Jefferson gets toned out for a structure fire, Clairton and Glassport are the RIT. Our 3 stations took the RIT class, taught by Jim Crawford, Pgh Bureau of Fire. We knew that to run an effective RIT, your gonna need manpower, so we combined the 3 stations, and made up the RIT team. This works very well in our area. If your having problems, think about putting together another class, and expand the resources, such as additional station responce etc for the manpower, and the speed needed to be effective. And as always, if you need anything, send me an email, or give me a ring at Clairton Fire Department, and see if we can help you guys out at all.

        Take Care and Be Safe,

        John Williams
        Clairton Fire Dept (swPA)


        • #5
          I think that part of the problem is, that we are very fortunate to get a good turn out at our calls. Unfortunately, there are some areas that are hurting for manpower. The companies with adequate manpower are quick to arrive on the scene. Those without, well, aren't. My belief is that in order for the RIT to work properly, they should be the second in company. If more manpower is needed, you can buy some time with fire suppression, but you can not with a firefighters life. This is a new program in the area. We have roughly 10 companies participating. There are some issues, and tactics that still need to be worked out, but I think the program is a step in the right direction. I am still looking for more input on the way other companies run their RIT Program. Thank you for the input.


          • #6
            We've kicked this around quite a bit, and we've tentatively settled on the idea that we'll use the nearby company that we also rely on for vehicle rescue and technical rescue to provide our RIT team. The initial reason for using them was simply that they had participated in a RIT class (I believe it was the same class/instructor that John refers to a few posts ago). We've also kicked around the idea of arranging a RIT class for ourselves this coming summer or fall.

            At the Chiefs' level, our general requirements have been kicked around, and it seems that this arrangement works for other reasons as well:

            1. It seems that to do RIT correctly in our volunteer world, you need a full company dedicated to it to guarantee sufficient manpower and equipment at all times.

            2. It also seems that you need either a Rescue or Truck company doing the RIT duties to guarantee that the right types of equipment are available to the RIT.

            3. There's a lot more to RIT duty than just sitting back and getting ready in case something goes wrong, so you need to use a crew that has specifically trained for it.

            4. We didn't want to reduce our up-front manpower when using a RIT, and this arrangement would amount to bumping a second alarm company up to the first alarm, leaving the expected level of manpower and equipment for direct firefighting on the initial dispatch and first alarm at the same level we can expect now. Since we rarely find it necessary to pull the second alarm for direct firefighting purposes, shuffling second alarm companies shouldn't effect anything from a practical standpoint.

            Obviously, we haven't worked out all the details yet, but I hope this helps you in some way.


            • #7
              In our county fire district we have auto call to the 2 callest dept. on all structure fires and if there is not enough response to the dispatcher in 1 minute then the next closest is called and so on until there is enough equipment and manpower to do the job
              Now as a commanding officer I will send in 1 two person team and hold the other outside until I am enough extra people to send in a second or third team.

              Good Luck And Be Safe
              Craig Lambert


              • #8
                Our depts. RIT team consists of 3 people not involved directly with the firfighting. They can be anyone from a firefighter to a chief. They can be involved with any activity that will not hinder their response to assist the interior team.

                FF J.H. Vandermark
                Vestal Fire Dept.


                • #9
                  Our RIT team is one of the substations, and is dispatched automatically on any reported fire, or at the request of the IC.

                  In the past this substation would not hve been dispatched to the scene until a second alarm was called.

                  Where the incident is determines which substation would be the RIT. Once set up the RIT team does exterior work that does tie them up if a rescue is needed. Amoung the tasks is to through escape ladders around the building. Also the RIT Officer is the Incident Safety Officer.


                  • #10
                    As one of your mutual aid departments and an instructor for the Rapid Intervention Crew Exercises program with the guys from Pittsburgh, my concerns are much the same as yours. Our RIT companies are usually arriving at around the 20 minute mark which is way too late. You need to ensure that even with the RIT, you adhere to the OSHA two in/two out protocol by committing some of your own personnel or first arriving units to the RIT position until your RIT company arrives. Studies have shown that firefighter incidents requiring RIT usually occur within the first twenty minutes when firefighters are beginning to run out of air and fire conditions are usually the worst. Hopefuuly, the upcoming RICE class will begin to educate some of our personnel as to what RIT is really all about and get us heading in the right direction. Although something is better than nothing, this is an area where people must be thouroughly trained and the cart has gotten put before the horse. Till then, stay safe.


                    • #11

                      Is there a way for the RIT to work efficiently in the volunteer service? I know that you are used on a more frequent basis than we are, but I can only assume it is because local communities know that you have the man power on duty at all times. This is reassuring to some, but as best as I can tell from the documentation around the firehouse. You will never be our RIT. You will always be involved with an "All Hands" or a second alarm. I think that the rules as they stand now are to rigid. My feeling (and I have gotten abused for this) is that the second in company, I don't care who it is should be assigned as the "Go Team". With that team in place you can have a little more confidence in what is going on around you.

                      The way I see it, with the shortage of manpower that most of us are experiencing, especially during the daylight hours, you are most likely going to have two or three companies there any ways. Who ever the second in company is, I think they should be assigned as the Go Team. Once they are on scene, command knows what their responsabilites are, and can notify the next incoming units that they should get masked up, and that they will be used for fire suppression.

                      I think that we sometimes forget that we didn't start the fire, and that things are only going to get better once we are there.
                      I think there should be a little more flexabilty in the guidelines that have been set up to allow for such calls to be made. And finally, I think that education is the key. We need to be familiar with our equipment, our man power, and our neighboring communities so that we know what to expect when we are called to the scene.
                      Your thoughts?

                      I am looking forward to the R.I.C.E. Class that is being held this weekend. I will report back as to the content of the class.

                      Thank you, and be safe.


                      • #12
                        Well I made it through a very intense class. I think anybody that is participating in this forum should seek the R.I.C.E. class for their respective areas. The class is the Rapid Intervention Crew Exercises. It is a very physically demanding class that goes through several evolutions and scenerios that could take place on the fireground.

                        The most important lesson that I learned is that know matter how much manpower you have, it is never enough. Just because you have a RIT or Go Team there for rescue doesn't mean that your own manpower isn't going to be needed. The Go Team needs the support of all firefighters to get there job done. As I learned in class last week, it is not just a matter of running in grabbing the victim and running out. Some of the evolutions ran an hour or more, because we had to disentangle, cut, or lift objects from the downed firefighter. After an hour of working on a fellow firefighter you are pretty well spent. It may take two or three crews to finally evacuate the person form the structure.

                        We had 30 guys in the class. There were several times that we could have used 32. If we had 32 we could have used 34. Understand?

                        We also got to use some tools in zero visibity that we would not ordinarily use. Hydralic cutters and spreaders, Airbags, and power saws are just a few. It is a whole different game not being able to see what you are cutting. Not to mention the high level of stress that is bieng put on yourself.

                        The Instructors were really passionate about what they were doing. Jim Crawford from Pittsburgh B.F. Truck 33 was the lead instructor. He had experienced the loss of brother firefighters first hand, and developed this class. The work was hard, but I learned a lot about myself, a lot about trust, and a lot about taking care of our own.

                        I highly recommend this class to anyone running RIT calls. It lays the foundation for everything that needs to be done when we roll up on the scene.

                        If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at [email protected], or continue this forum.


                        • #13
                          I have the advantage due to being a full time college student of running with two departments, both vollies. One is very modern and up to date, we use RIT. The other has never even heard of RIT, then again they still ride on the tailboard.

                          In the RIT department we have the box set to dispatch a truck company from a nearby department when a structure fire comes in. They do not leave their station till IC tells them we have a worker (it is quite a trip). The department the RIT truck company comes from is not on a second box for us, we have several other departments that cover that. This way we do not strip our second alarm of a truck. We are also one their box for our truck as an RIT. The system works well because we both have trained RIT and have designated a company to do RIT. This elimanates the time taken at 3am when the cheif would have to think who to ask county for to get a RIT.

                          Hope this advice helps someone.

                          * God Looked down and
                          * saw this was bad, it
                          * was bad, it was Drew

                          [This message has been edited by Drewbo (edited February 22, 2000).]

                          [This message has been edited by Drewbo (edited February 22, 2000).]


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